Tuesday

23rd Jul 2019

Nato in show of strength ahead of Warsaw summit

  • Anacaonda-16 will see, for the first time since WWII, German tanks cross the border into Poland (Photo: nato.int)

Nato has begun three military exercises - Anaconda-16, Baltops and Iron Wolf 2016 - designed to show it is ready to defend its eastern allies from Russia.

The Anaconda-16 war game in Poland is the largest of its kind since the end of the Cold War.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Lavrov: "This will activate the Russian sovereign right to protect itself" (Photo: consiilium.europa.eu)

The 10-day drill involves 14,000 US soldiers, 12,000 Polish ones and up to 1,000 British troops out of a total of 31,000 personnel from 24 nations.

In one event on Tuesday, 1,130 paratroopers will practice landing in Torun, northern Poland. Other drills will see an emergency bridge built over the Wistula river and a simulated night-time assault by 35 attack helicopters.

It will also see, for the first time since WWII, German tanks cross the border into Poland.

The Baltops (Baltic Operations) exercise, which takes place every year and which also began on Monday, involves 4,500 troops in Nordic and Baltic countries.

It will include hundreds of soldiers from Finland and Sweden, which are not in Nato but which are cultivating closer ties because of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

Iron Wolf 2016 involves 5,000 troops and will take place largely in Lithuania and Latvia.

The drills come ahead of a Nato summit in Warsaw in mid-July that will see the alliance firm up plans for a Russia-deterrent force in the region and that will see Montenegro join the mutual defence club.

The Russia deterrent force envisages new command centres and arms depots in the region.

At the same time, the US is finalising plans to switch on components of an anti-ballistic missile shield in Poland and in Romania. Poland itself is creating a 35,000-strong force of reservists.

Russia has spoken out against what it calls Nato’s build-up in the region.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin on a recent trip to Greece said people who host US anti-missile bases should get used to being in Russia’s "crosshairs." He is going to Finland later this summer.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday: “We do not hide that we have a negative attitude toward the Nato line of moving its military infrastructure to our borders, drawing other countries into military unit activities.

“This will activate the Russian sovereign right to protect itself with methods that are adequate for today's risks.”

Franz Klintsevich, the deputy head of the defence committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, went further. He told the Russia's Interfax agency that Nato was preparing a “global strike” against Russia.

Nato has countered by saying that Russia held more than 800 war games in the region last year, most of them unannounced in violation of international accords.

Some experts such as Ian Brzezinski, a former Pentagon official who now works for the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, have predicted that Russia will stage a provocation ahead of the Nato summit in Poland.

But Petr Pavel, a Czech general and senior Nato official, recently told EUobserver that such a move was unlikely.

“I don’t believe that, in the current circumstances, Russia will try to destabilise the [Nato] summit," he said at the Globsec security conference in Bratislava in April.

"They’re trying to be more open and to enter into a dialogue, so any bigger provocation wouldn’t suit that purpose.”

News in Brief

  1. Johnson set to be announced British PM on Tuesday
  2. UK-based owners of .eu domains could keep name
  3. Weyand: EU would respond to US tariffs on cars
  4. UK foreign office minister quits ahead of Johnson as PM
  5. AKK to boost Bundeswehr budget to Nato target
  6. Police arrest 25 after Polish LGBT-march attack
  7. Ukrainian president's party tops parliament election
  8. EU interior ministers to meet in Paris on migration

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Macron: 14 EU states agree on a migration 'mechanism'
  2. As Johnson set to become PM, ministers pledge to resign
  3. Poland's PiS prepares 'failsafe' for October election
  4. Abortion Wars
  5. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  6. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  7. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  8. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us